Maintaining a grasp on reality – Is our validation and design effort focused in the same direction?

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This article examines the influence on the engineering design process of the primary objective of validation, whether it is proving a model, a technology or a product. Through the examination of a number of stiffened panel case studies, the relationships between simulation, validation, design and the final product are established and discussed. The work demonstrates the complex interactions between the original (or anticipated) design model, the analysis model, the validation activities and the product in service. The outcome shows clearly some unintended consequences. High fidelity validation test simulations require a different set of detailed parameters to accurately capture behaviour. By doing so, there is a divergence from the original computer-aided design model, intrinsically limiting the value of the validation with respect to the product. This work represents a shift from the traditional perspective of encapsulating and controlling errors between simulation and experimental test to consideration of the wider design-test process. Specifically, it is a reflection on the implications of how models are built and validated, and the effect on results and understanding of structural behaviour. This article then identifies key checkpoints in the design process and how these should be used to update the computer-aided design system parameters for a design. This work strikes at a fundamental challenge in understanding the interaction between design, certification and operation of any complex system.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)72-89
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Strain Analysis for Engineering Design
Issue numberSpecial Issue
Early online date20 May 2015
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2016


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